Constraints vs. Restraints

I never posted the full version of this article I wrote a couple of months back and as it seems as relevants as ever, here you go:

Let’s start with some definitions. I won’t repeat the ones in the dictionary but for the sake of this post, essentially constraints are limits or forces acting on something, but they are variable and it is possible to overcome them. A restraint is a fixed fundamental limit that cannot be altered. If we take the example of the government being faced with constraints and restraints, they have been elected to overcome anything in their path, “Yes we can!” but actually, there are things they cannot do.

You only have to look at nature to understand what is going on. Day follows night, spring follows winter. The tide goes out before coming back in again. Death follows life, before the cycle can go on and things can be reborn anew. The dynamic balance of opposites, change and the cycles of time are inevitable and essential for continuity.

Within this closed system we call Earth, infinite growth is an impossibility, UNLESS you allow things to take their natural course. A cherry tree blooms and then dies and after falling to the ground, the blossoms return to the soil and become nutrients for the surrounding environment. Through it’s death, every last particle contributes in some way to the health and continuity of its own ecosystem.

In the world we live in, particularly the world of politics, failure is not allowed, everything is done to prevent it, so things grow to extremes before being put on life support and eventually dying anyway. Politicians focus on watering a dead plant rather than allowing it to die and planting new seeds. They focus on their short-term ability to deal with constraints, rather than the long term geological restraints all of us are essentially restricted by. This focus on specific constraints pushes us into Hegel’s dialectic, whereby they present a part of the problem, which can then be maneuvered into a solution of their own making, usually for their own benefit.

The resources of the world are running out, with top soil depletion, oil, coal, gas, fresh water, fish populations, etc…, etc…, all being pushed beyond their limits to try to sustain an unsustainable system. We all need the necessaries of life to the same extent, thus things, which are equal to the same thing, are also equal to one another. We are all subjected to the same fundamental laws of mathematics. The ridiculous notion of endless growth for the sake of short-term profit for a few, is sacrificing our chance of long-term continuity. Unless the arrogance and egotism of man, which has helped build up such a fantastic, but complicated and fragile interdependent system, is put aside and instead changed into one of understanding of our true nature and position within the greater picture, the course we are on will lead to disaster.

In order for humans to survive and prosper, the politicians and business leaders of the world must first admit there can be no more business as usual, they must accept the restraints we are all subjected to, of physical limitations to continued growth in a closed system and that the only option is to downsize everything. Instead they focus on constraints, which allow them to prescribe remedies and keep up appearances in order to maintain the illusion that they are in control of things. By admitting to their inability to control forces bigger than themselves, they would help a transition into a more sustainable future and encourage people to take control of their own affairs.

Now, will this happen? In the words of Jeffers, not a f@#cking chance, because it shifts power from the government and companies into peoples own hands.

So where does that leave us?


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